Diet Firms Come Under Fire as Youngsters Battle with Eating Disorders

student fashion

This week came reports of yet more complaints against the model industry.  With the rise in eating disorders and the worry of poor body image amongst youngsters, MPs are investigating diet firms and cosmetic surgeons for their part.  Young Academic reports on what looks like the youth mirroring the image and style of models and celebrities.

There has been much controversy over the corruption of the modelling world in recent years with certain initiatives such All Walks Beyond the Catwalk looking for diversity in the industry.  The latest companies to come under fire are those in the slimming pills and diet industry who supply the general public with aids to slim down.

Boots, Weightwatchers and Transform Cosmetic Surgery are amongst the companies to be questioned and each has agreed to give evidence in the inquiry.

This week the all-party parliamentary group launched the investigation in an attempt to find solutions to the growing culture of body conscious teens.  It has come to light that the number of children admitted to hospital for anorexia and bulimia has in fact doubled and research has recently shown that a shockingly high figure of one in eight girls are actually taking laxatives to lose weight.

Chairwoman of the committee, Jo Swinson has commented saying “we know there’s a problem, with young people feeling under enormous pressure about the way they look. We need to take a step back and find out who or what is responsible, and what positive and practical steps can be taken to promote better body confidence for all.”

With the diet firms and cosmetic surgeons being investigated, attention has also turned to the model industry and the affect that skinny models is having on young peoples’ body image.

Skinny silhouettes reign in the world of modelling and as a result the general public is bombarded with images of the female body but there is little diversity.  The bodies of models walking down the runway are ridiculously skinny with fragile frames.  Could it be that the unattainable body forms which are paraded down the catwalks, featuring in all the magazines and taking over the world of celebrities are in fact the reason for this rising culture of anorexia and bulimia in youngsters?

A telling tale in the latest twist to the model industry is the news this week that an advertising campaign was banned after watchdogs ruled model Amanda Hendrick looked too thin.  Her striking features have graced hundreds of top fashion magazines and the greatest catwalks yet there is divided opinion over whether her looks are always picture perfect.

The recent pictures to appear on the Drop Dead Clothing site featured Amanda Hendrick in a watermelon printed bikini and another in denim shorts but have been taken down after receiving complaints claiming that the model “looked anorexic”.  The Advertising Standards Agency says the pictures on the website were “socially irresponsible”.

“The ASA considered the model was very slim. We also noted that in the bikini and denim shorts images, hollows in her thighs were noticeable and she had prominent thigh bones.  We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye make-up, the model looked underweight in the pictures.  While we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.”

The model was spotted at the age of fifteen and was signed to modelling agency Storm in 2004.  Since the model has risen to fame, featuring on covers of top magazines like Elle and Vogue but now it seems her tiny figure is causing controversy amongst the public.

It must be said that the latest obsession with skinny silhouettes could be down to the images that the public are bombarded with each and every day.  Not only do the thin reign on the catwalk but also on TV, films and in magazines.

Take advertising campaigns on TV and in magazines for example.  Brands often advertise products which will help with anti-aging or cellulite busting but the models that are used to advertise products are already young and extremely thin. Undoubtedly, the ads are successful because women want to be like the “perfect” models but by trying to reach an unattainable ideal women are risking much more than their budget, their physical and psychological health are also in jeopardy.

Plus, front covers of magazines are often filled with the latest diet and exercise regimes as well as recipes for healthy meals so it seems inevitable that youngsters are going to become aware of their bodies and attempt to become skinnier.

Yes, models and celebrities become role models for youngsters but it seems that these diet regimes and slimming pills are making acquiring the ‘perfect’ body become possible.

The inquiry begins on November 28 and will report next summer so let’s wait and see if there are any changes in the diversity of models and celebrities in years to come.

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